Damian Hitchen, CEO of Saxo Bank in the MENA region, believes that the UAE economy will continue to grow in 2024. This growth is expected to be over 5.5 percent, mainly due to investments in technology and renewable energy.

In his statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Hitchen mentioned that the UAE's strategic location, business-friendly environment, and forward-looking policies attract investors and companies worldwide. He is optimistic about the opportunities for projects and investments in the UAE and the Middle East in the upcoming years.

Additionally, Hitchen highlighted the UAE's significant role in global financial markets, with its economic plans closely tied to global trends. He also noted that the country benefits from its strategic location and top-notch infrastructure, offering various opportunities for commercial activities.

Damian explained that the UAE's commitment to innovation and global partnerships enhances its global economic position, supporting its economy. He mentioned that the country has made progress in diversifying its economy away from oil by investing in sectors like tourism, technology, renewable energy, and financial services. These efforts have reduced reliance on oil revenues.

He highlighted that the UAE has successfully diversified its economy by supporting innovations and entrepreneurship, attracting foreign investments. Programmes like the Golden Visa and free zones help attract talents and companies, aiding economic diversification. The UAE's flexible strategy for economic diversification has positioned it as a key player in the global economy.

He discussed the UAE's investments in technological innovations like artificial intelligence and blockchain, creating opportunities for startups and tech institutions. He also mentioned the UAE's role as a major financial centre, with financial technology services spreading and Dubai and Abu Dhabi experiencing rapid growth in this sector.

Damian highlighted that the UAE, a key global tourist destination, continues to attract record numbers of tourists. He mentioned that infrastructure and real estate projects are also drawing many investors, with all sectors benefiting from the country's economic diversification efforts, strategic location, and business-friendly environment, contributing to economic growth in the UAE.

Damian Hitchen expects the economies of the Gulf Arab states to continue recovering, with the Arabian Gulf region's economy projected to grow by 2.5 percent in 2023 and 3.2 percent in 2024. This growth is attributed to diversification efforts, increased government spending, and infrastructure projects boosting economic growth in these countries.

Regarding the global economic outlook, he discussed the various factors influencing the global economy, including challenges like supply chain issues and inflationary pressures. Governments, central banks, and international organisations are addressing these challenges to support economic growth.

He noted the differences in growth rates among countries, regions, and sectors, with some experiencing decline while others are growing. It is crucial to seize growth opportunities and adapt to varying global conditions.

The CEO explained the recent decision of the US Federal Reserve to maintain interest rates, considering factors like economic data, concerns about rising inflation, and employment trends. This decision reflects the Fed's commitment to economic stability and addressing inflation in the long term, aiming for an annual inflation rate of 2 percent.